Mid-Life Victory

My Friend Steve

Mid-career.  Successful.  Good marriage.  Comfy modern-world, society.  Obvious next step?

Afghanistan.  Right?!?

A few days ago, my dear friend Steve entered heaven to be with the other gone-ahead saints.  I am grieving.  Steve is without pain, sadness, sin, death.  He is realizing victory, at last.  This is true.  I miss him still.

Let me tell you about this man who began dying to himself long before being diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer only 14 months ago.  Steve decided that despite being a successful corporate manager living in Aberdeen, Scotland, his life was better served amongst the dust, poverty and violence of another land.  He and his wife Jane decided to follow a call to enter into full-time ministry – in Afghanistan, or wherever they could be used best.  They walked away from what many of us have longed for – comfort, security and a home filled with friends, even a good church.

As it turned out, they were not to serve in Afghanistan.  Instead, they were redirected to Cyprus to serve with SAT-7.  This is where I met them.  My first encounter with Steve was indicative of the heart of this giant of a man.  I had just joined a meeting and was being inundated with new terms, lingo, and acronyms like IO, MCR, IOMC, IMT, etc.  This big guy, who was hunched down into a less than sufficient conference chair, scooted gingerly over to me.  He began to make notes so that I could see.  He was connecting the dots in an information puzzle.  He and Jane pulled Sarah and I aside and talked us through the realities of joining the team in Cyprus.  From that point on, Steve never ceased to care that I was adapting well – that I was ok.

He had a sense of humor that was as quirky as he was tall.  Yet, he somehow never ventured to make a comment that would disparage anyone.  Very quickly, I realized that Steve was the real-deal.  He loved others as himself – more than himself.  He had a knack of showing up and being useful.  On many occasions, he would stop by just to show me some new technology that would be great for helping us all to communicate and serve one another better.  Steve was very much quite clever, yet his heart was bigger than his brain.

Our family was having lunch with Steve and Jane the day before they found out how sick Steve really was last July.  He was not feeling well.  But, he set that aside and patiently spent time with us.  At the time he thought it was just diabetes that he needed to get under control.  I assumed that I would have many more opportunities to spend time with Steve.  He was one of the people in this life that produces in others joy, laughter and understanding simply by observing him.  I wish that I had given him a big hug.  I wish I would have known that I wouldn’t get to hang out with him again.  I saw him one more time briefly in the office.  I prayed that I would again see the gigantic (in heart, body and love), Jesus follower walk back in ready for more – healed and strong.

So, now Steve is healed.  But, he is not here. I will miss him.  He has gone ahead to the place we will call home forever.  I look forward to the next time I have a chance to hug him and tell him thanks for showing us the way to follow Jesus – all the way to victory.

Please be praying for Jane.  It’s been a long, difficult year and now she looks at life without the one God provided for her.  She, too, is an example of one who knows Jesus.  Yet, now she is experiencing the hurt of grief.

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12 thoughts on “Mid-Life Victory

  1. Hard…but so very encouraging. His was A life well-lived and your post is a tribute to this. Thanks for sharing your perspective. We’ll be praying for Jane.

  2. I’m sorry for your loss. It’s easy to say they are happy and well again, but it’s hard when you miss them. I will pray for Jane.

  3. Hi Dan, I don’t know you, but Jane emailed me a link to your tribute.
    Steve was my big brother.
    Thank you so much for your kind words. I have been struggling for words to express how much he will be missed – nothing really does it justice. But your words have truly summed up why we all loved and respected him so much in every way.
    I feel privileged to have had him for my brother and I look forward eagerly to seeing him again in Glory. Let’s face it – he’ll be easy to spot head and shoulders above the rest!

    • Dear Serena,

      I am so sorry for your loss. I hope my words are of some help to you. Steve’s life certainly made a difference in mine. I agree with you, it will be easy to spot Steve – for his height and for the long queue of people waiting to see him. What a day that will be!

      I hope you are able to remember him frequently and that the grief passes in time.

      dan

      • Sorry I haven’t replied earlier – took a bit of time to pluck up the courage to return to your tribute, although I often think of your kind words when I think of Steve. He was a very special guy and I still miss him greatly each and every day. Hope your work at SAT-7 is still going strong – he would have wanted that. Thanks again. Take care. Serena x

  4. Hey Dan and family,

    I’ve really been thinking about you all this past week and now I see the main reason why. I wish I could have met this guy! Mostly, I want the plans for the shopping-cart/bike! I laughed real hard at his free “iPad” give-away from his blog, too. We miss you all very much and hope you find good family time in the midst of this loss as well as cohesiveness and steps to take as you walk through this as your SAT-7 team. We love you very much, miss you, and are always encouraged by your persistence and satisfaction in following Jesus.

    Eric and the Osterday family

  5. Hi Dan,
    I am Steve Williams Mum. I was with my daughter Serena on what would have been Steve’s 49th birthday and she showed me your tribute to Steve – midlife victory. I want to thank you so much for the lovely things you said about him and to tell you how much it meant to me to know it wasn’t just us who thought he was a very special person. I miss him every day. I wish you and your family every blessing in whatever you do. Yours with thanks, Jill

    • Dear Mrs. Williams,

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m touched that my tribute to Steve helped you in some small way. I only wish it wasn’t necessary and that we were all still enjoying him here and now. I miss him too.

      My prayer for you is that your grief is replaced with peace and that memories of Steve bring you joy.

      In Christ,

      dan

  6. Hi Dan. I do still remember Steve frequently – every day in fact – but no, the grief hasn’t passed.
    I hope you and your family are well and facing whatever new challenges you are experiencing.
    Serena xx

  7. Hi Dan. I have no idea if you still monitor this page. I still find some small comfort from your words amongst the still huge amount of pain.
    Serena

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